"Chakrasamvara Mandala," Nepal
The expression of gratitude provides the most rapid path towards experiencing a joyful life. It assists you in forging a clear pathway towards enlightenment and beyond. Gratitude opens your heart and enables you to get a glimpse of that state of consciousness that connects you to All That Is, a state of consciousness that is bliss itself, union with your soul, connection to your source, God, Goddess.
The daily practice of gratitude will take you to increasingly higher levels of awareness of the Divine in and around your life and of all the many gifts that are afforded you on each and every day. Even the so-called negative experiences can often be received with gratitude in the moment or in retrospect as you begin to experience the spirit of God as it guides you on your journey back to love.
The practice of gratitude is not the habit of saying thank you because it is considered to be good manners. It is instead giving recognition to the things that have brought you joy and have served you in expanding your consciousness, your personal and spiritual growth, and have served you in bringing more clarity into your life. When you are in a state of experiencing gratitude for something that has been received, you open your heart which allows you to receive more of the same. Imagine this: you brought a delightful gift for a friend. The gift is unexpected and the friend is absolutely delighted with what you have given him or her. His/her face lights up with pure joy and delight. How do you, the giver, feel? Doesn't it want to make you give even more? Doesn't his or her gratitude fill your own heart with so much joy that you feel expanded and open? The Universe is exactly the same way.
Many of you may do visualization and believe that you create your own reality. However, if you make happiness circumstance-dependant, it will take you much longer to have what you want, to create the joy, love, and happiness that you seek. You are living in a Universe of resonance. Therefore, that which you concentrate on increases because it attracts more of the same to you. If you wish to experience more joy in your life, concentrate on that which gives you joy on a daily basis. This does not mean that you need to ignore those things that make you unhappy, but by acknowledging the aspects of your life that do you give you joy, you will begin to increase the amount of joy in your life.
The Universe operates according to the Law of Increase. This law ensures that whatever you concentrate on will automatically increase in your life. If you concentrate on lack, then lack will manifest itself in more shortage and more experience of the things that give you those feelings. In order to receive what you want -- and it is your Divine Birthright to have all that makes your heart sing -- your heart needs to be open so that you may receive it. That means you need to ask!
The Law of Increase works exceptionally well with the heart energies that gratitude produces. Just imagine that you are the precious friend and God is the one giving you the gift. When you are delighted and express your delight from the depths of your heart, the Universe just can't wait to give you more. This is the Law of Increase. Once you have practiced receiving, you can then move on to giving.
For many, giving has become a way of winning approval or is done because it is the spiritual thing to do. True giving is done from an open heart, a heart that is open to receive, as well as to give. In order for the Law of Increase to operate fully, your heart will need to be open sufficiently to allow a clear channel for a two-way flow, inward and outward. If you are unable to receive, and deem yourself unworthy of God's love, that which you give will drain you and will inevitably begin to decrease in the value it gives to others over time. This occurs because you will be giving away your own energies instead of allowing the spirit of God, or the Love of the Universe, to flow through you.
Perhaps you might have difficulty in receiving because you learned at a very young age to close your heart from all the pain you sensed around you. To be able to receive, your heart needs to be open and welcoming. However, this may have become difficult, for you no longer wish to feel the pain, or even take the risk you perceive in opening your heart more fully. In this way, you can also take the pain in your heart and offer that to God as a gift -- a gift that has taught you much and has helped make you who you are today. Each and every event in your life, whether or not you perceive it to be either good or bad, is truly Divine Grace in action. All events have been created for you, out of love, for one purpose and one purpose only. That purpose is to bring you back to love, back to the love of your soul, back to the love of God.
You can choose how you are going to live your life on a moment-by-moment basis. This does not mean that you need to be perfect or chastise yourself whenever you act in ways that are less loving. It does mean that feelings of unhappiness and feelings that you are unworthy are choices and that you can choose at any time to acknowledge all the valuable things in your life. Take a pen and paper and write a thank you note to the Universe for all that you have. Celebrate the birds that sing, your pet cat or dog, the shop assistant who always gives you a smile. Give thanks for the friends that you have and for the things that you have learned. Give thanks for your life and all its wonders. Also, always ask for that which you desire
Sometimes one becomes very confused when it comes to asking for gifts from God. You fear that it is egocentric or simply not allowed. However, these are only fears. Why would a God of love give you life and then deny you those things that give you joy? To assist you in feeling the difference between a personality-led wish and a desire that is directed by the heart and soul, feel the excitement and the level of expansion that visualizing that which you want gives you. You can easily feel this in your body. Personality-led desires are often based upon fears, and soul-led desires are based upon love. If you are uncertain of the source of something that you desire, sit, get quiet and centered in your usual position for meditation or prayer, and visualize having the thing that you wish to ask for. If you get a sense of contracting, getting smaller, or your muscles tighten, then your wish is more than likely personality-led and will be based largely on fear. If you feel expanded, joyous and excited, it will more than likely be a soul-led desire and will serve your higher good
Often, when things do not come to you, you may realize that you didn't really want them in the first place and that the thing would not have served your higher good. Thus, something may not manifest because the Universe is pointing you in the direction of something even better
Some who are on the spiritual path hold onto beliefs that it is in some way more noble or spiritual to suffer or that it is selfish to have what you want. You may feel that it is unspiritual to ask the Universe for a material thing such as a new home, job, car, or computer. However, a request for something material that comes from the heart is a request for growth. A new home could represent a need to create peace in your surroundings by moving to a larger home with a garden. A new computer could be your desire to express yourself creatively through writing. All heartfelt requests serve your spiritual growth. And as souls, you did not choose to live in the worlds of matter to deny it, but to learn how to master it. An important part of spiritual growth is learning how to get your life to work for you. Often you may find yourself clinging to hardship and difficulty because the strong emotions that survival can bring up give you a sense of aliveness because your heart may have been closed since childhood. You can instead choose to experience that sense of being alive by starting with the practice of gratitude. As you begin, you will start to experience the many wonderful gifts that are in your life right now which will change your perspective. As this shift occurs, more joy will be able to flow freely through your heart so that you may become a true channel for the love of God, open and able to both give and receive love freely.
John Payne is an author who writes about and experiences enlightenment. You may reach him at email@example.com
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